In the Western Altepa Desert, there is a gate marked by four colored columns. This is the Altepa Gate and it leads to the deepest parts of the Quicksand Caves. The gate is locked, but can be opened by activating the four colored columns[1].

This gate must be opened before the NM involved in the Old Wounds quest can be reached. There are also a few Antican notorious monsters behind this gate. The gate is located at the southwest corner of (I-6) of Western Altepa Desert but is only accessible through Quicksand Caves. It can only be opened when 4 columns/switches are activated. Remember, mobs in Quicksand caves will still aggro at 75 so it's a good idea if everybody can Sneak themselves.


Western Altepa Desert

Quicksand-caves 6

Quicksand Caves

  • Note: As of the 2011 Update introducing the Open Sesame Quest. The weight switches needed to get to the 4 color columns can be opened solo on any race after obtaining KeyItemLoadstone.


All columns must be down (color of column is hidden) for the gate to be open. You can see the status of the columns in the southwest corner of (I-6) of Western Altepa. Once activated, columns stay down until the gate is opened. (The gate remains open between 15-30 minutes)
Requires either a KeyItemLoadstone or three or more weight points to stand on the switch for a pressure door to open. Tarutaru are one weight point. Hume, Elvaan and Mithra are two weight points. Galka are three weight points. Put another way, a weight switch requires at least three Tarutaru, one Hume/Elvaan/Mithra and one of any other race, or one Galka. These switches can only be activated by players; pets and NPCs do not count towards the required weight.

Emerald Column (green)

(Weight-switches) Send enough party members to (D-12) of Western Altepa. (You will need to go through (D-11) to get there.) Enter the Quicksand Caves and head for (F-7) on the map. On the way, two doors will be encountered that can only be opened by standing on a weight-switch. Once at (F-7) find a hole in the floor and drop to a lower level. Once down, head to the zone at (H-4) on the map by hugging the right wall. Once back in Western Altepa, follow the left wall to find and examine the Emerald Column.

The Chamber of Oracles homepoint is a considerable time saver.

Sapphire Column (blue)

(Weight-switches) Send enough party members to (G-5) of Western Altepa. Zone into Quicksand Caves and pass through a weight-switch Ornate Door to the right. Note that the anticans and spiders there will sound-aggro a level 99 player. Go through the Sandstone Door into a room filled with angry mobs to trigger another weight-switch Ornate Door and head for the zone at (D-8) on the map. Once back in Western Altepa, go through the tunnel staying to the right to find the Sapphire Column.

Topaz Column (yellow)

(No Weight-switches) One or more party members enter the Quicksand Caves at (J-9) in Western Altepa. Go to (D-11) to enter a different area of the map. Then go to the farthest room on the right-hand side (G-7) and fall through a whirlpool to a lower level. From there, exit at (C-6) to Western Altepa. You will be able to examine the Topaz Column at (G-9).

Ruby Column (red)

The Ruby Column is passed on the way to the Altepa Gate. See the instructions below.

The Altepa Gate

Once the Emerald, Sapphire, and Topaz columns have been activated, gather at (J-9) of Western Altepa and enter Quicksand Caves. Head north to (K-6) and fall through the whirlpool. Exit the caves at (N-4) on the map to Western Altepa.

Head southwest through the tunnels and find the Ruby Column located at (I-8). Continue southwest to a large square area. Take the northwest tunnel to the Altepa Gate at (I-6). The Altepa Gate looks like a tall set of double doors. Once all 4 columns have been activated, the Altepa Gate will open and remain open for about 15-30 minutes.

  1. 1
The Altepa Gate may also be opened by someone behind the door without the columns being triggered. In this case, the door will only be open for 30 seconds.

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